Berkeley, CA asked in Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: Stray dog - what are our rights?

Hi we found a dog and reported it to the local shelter in California. They have now put out a Facebook post asking for anyone in the area to come forward. She is not chipped and was found with a dog collar but no tag, which leads us to think she may have been abandoned. When can we reasonably assume it is safe to keep her legally?

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1 Lawyer Answer
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: After you surrender it to Animal Control and adopt it legally.

Civil Code § 2080. Duties of finder

“Any person who finds a thing lost is not bound to take charge of it. . .but when the person does take charge of it he or she is thenceforward a depositary for the owner, with the rights and obligations of a depositary for hire. Any person that. . .saves any domestic animal from harm, neglect, drowning, or starvation, shall, within a reasonable time, inform the owner, if known, and make restitution without compensation, except a reasonable charge for saving and taking care of the property. Any person who takes possession of a live domestic animal shall provide for humane treatment of the animal.”

Civil Code section 2080.1 provides:

“(a) If the owner is unknown or has not claimed the property, the person saving or finding the property shall, if the property is of the value of one hundred dollars ($100) or more, within a reasonable time turn the property over to the police department of the city or city and county, if found therein, or to the sheriff’s department of the county if found outside of city limits, and shall make an affidavit, stating when and where he or she found or saved the property, particularly describing it. . . ."

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